Social Medicine in “Beyond East and West” Article by Ernst

Subject: Healthcare Research
Pages: 1
Words: 324
Reading time:
2 min
Study level: College

The article Beyond East and West considers medicine as a method of studying the history and social development of the South Asian states. An important aspect that Ernst emphasizes is that any historical study is often subject to propaganda or distortion of facts. Initially, Asian medicine was analyzed by the West as colonial, without its purpose or meaning. However, attitudes towards the field have changed, and at the moment, local treatments and drugs are experiencing increased interest. In addition, the author notes that medicine should be considered as a totality, that is, as a social institution (Ernst, 2007). Ernst’s argument is that the analyzed sphere is often associated with power due to the needs that are relevant at different times (Ernst, 2007). Based on this, with a comprehensive study of medicine, many aspects of history can be understood.

The author notes the disunity among researchers, which appeared in the disagreement in methodology. Two points of view are mainly considered, one of which is aimed at the study of archives, and the other at social analysis. The author herself is sure that this enmity is useless and destructive for research, and both methods must be combined (Ernst, 2007). In the end, the main position of Ernst is the versatility of medicine as a science, the study of which makes it possible to make many discoveries in other areas of the history of the state.

As a conclusion, it must be said that the author considers any aspect of the society life as extremely dependent on time. In other words, the article notes several times that power and propaganda at different stages of history directly affect medicine and can be misleading in research. In order to prevent this, it is necessary to study the state and society in a comprehensive manner, simultaneously from all sides. It will help to get rid of delusions or incorrect conclusions, and understand deeper the history and identity of South Asia.


Ernst, W. (2007). Beyond East and West. From the history of colonial medicine to a social history of medicine(s) in South Africa. Social History of Medicine, pp. 1-20. Oxford University Press.